Recession Rescue: Credit Score - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Recession Rescue: Credit Score

By Ashley Glass email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

(WFLX) - In these tough economic times, Fox 29 will continue to give you information to help.

We're launching a new initiative called 'Recession Rescue'. You'll see stories to help you save money and ease financial stress.

These days, your credit score is everything. Here are some easy ways to boost your score.

Pete Ceppo and his family are browsing for a new home, so they will need a loan soon. "Credit score is key."

Ceppo is right. The better the score, the lower your interest rates. The score ranges from zero to 850.

Mortgage broker and credit councilor Margaret Mullen points out easy ways to hike up the score. For starters, just give your credit card company a quick call about cutting your rate, which can make it easier to pay your bills on time. "Ask them to reduce it. If they don't want to, tell them you want to close the account, and they will usually figure out a way to reduce the rate."

And while you have them on the line, Mullen says, ask for higher limits. This makes your debt to credit ratio look better to lenders.

Ceppo is a little skeptical on this tip. "I think it's risky. But if it can help in your overall score, it's worth it."

Mullen says having higher limits only boosts the score if you keep your debt the same or lower.

She adds, build your credit history, a big factor in the score. If you don't have any credit, open an account and always pay more than the minimum. "You can get a secured credit card. Send Visa $300, and they will give you $300 credit. You buy gas and groceries, pay it off at the end of the month, and slowly they will increase your limit."

Ceppo learned that lesson early on after he opened his first credit card out of college. "I realized, as I had that card and then went to buy a car, it helped to get the lower rate to buy the car."

Another tip: When shopping for something like a home, monitor how many credit checks are run on you. Multiple inquiries and your score could suffer. "That could bring it down as much as 30 points a hit."

Mullen also tells us not to open or close a lot of accounts in a short period of time which can drop your score.

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